August 29, 2011

Damon Albarn to make first solo album for 2012

Damon's going to make a solo album! Exciting news everyone! 

DAMON Albarn's done a lot in his 20-year career in music but he's still missing one thing from his lengthy CV – a proper solo recording (The Sun)
Now the Blur and Gorillaz man has pledged to follow fellow Britpop hero Noel Gallagher and spend most of next year recording an album of his own.
But Damon has three albums to get out first.
One is a project by Africa Express – a collective of Western and African musicians – recorded in the Congo.
Another is a collaboration with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and drumming legend Tony Allen.
The third is a recording of his Elizabethan opera.
After that he'll get to work on his first solo disc so it's ready for release some time in 2012.
A source said: "Damon's finally ready to make a solo album after years of hiding behind cartoon band Gorillaz and working with collectives of musicians.
"He's looking forward to it and his label bosses at EMI are pleased as it's sure to sell by the bucketload."
Although it's bad news for fans holding out on a full Blur reunion – a Damon solo disc is still an exciting prospect.

August 12, 2011

What's up with Alex James after Blur ? Interview August 2011

Alex James

The musician and cheese maker talks about his family

  • The Guardian,

My uncle was a jazz pianist and my granny's sisters were on the stage. My grandma was part of a glamorous dance troupe called the Dolly Sisters, so music was in my blood. My dad taught me how to play the piano, but that was the only musical training I had. Mum and dad would have much rather I'd been an accountant – until Blur started getting written about, by which point they were very pleased to tell all their friends.
My family dealt with me becoming a public figure remarkably well. I think they all liked it. My mum got doorstepped a bit by journalists when I first got famous but everyone has just enjoyed the benefits and didn't make a fuss about the negatives. My mum and dad came on tour with Blur at the height of Britpop and loved it.
My grandfather was a chef and because of that my dad never cooked a blooming thing. It can go two ways when your dad's a chef; you're, like, "What's going on here, how do I do that?" but my dad was, like, "Ooh, thefood here is really good", so he never cooked anything in his life. But he had a very developed palate so we discovered food together and food is absolutely the focus of family life for me.
I'm protective of my sister, Deborah. She's two years younger and we've always been close but are very different. She's really good at painting and drawing; she's got visual acuity. She's a glass artist and has made a few pieces for Damien Hirst.
Meeting my wife Claire happened at the same time that Blur sort of stopped, so it felt like a new part of my life was starting. I think when you get married that it's the end of rock'n'roll. When you start having kids something does change. It's been amazing, though. When I was 18 I thought I was going to have to kill myself when I hit 40. I thought it would be all over, but it keeps getting better and better as you evolve. What you want out of life changes, and my idea of heaven now is good food with my family. It's pretty simple but it's about as good as it gets.
I've got five children and people say, "are you busy?" and it's like, before I even go to work, I'm busy. I've got five kids. I need a spreadsheet to keep track of them. No one ever regrets having children. To be honest, I don't know how people do it with less than five.
I thought I was getting the hang of parenting and then our first girl came along. She is two now and she amazes me: "What? You'll just sit there colouring and you're happy to do that? Really?" The boys need constant attention – they want you to fight, play football or make Lego with them. It's all about doing things.
I live on a farm now, which is a natural environment for an ageing rock gentleman. There's a reason I wanted to put down some roots after all those years living out of suitcases. You can't be more grounded than on a farm. so I've built my life around my family. They're my main source of pleasure, and of pain too, but it's worth fighting for. It takes absolutely every ounce of your strength to keep the ship sailing straight, but fucking hell, it's worth it.
Alex James is an ambassador for MasterCard's Big Lunch campaign, which encourages people to embrace community spirit. For more details visit

August 10, 2011

Damon Albarn to perform in Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2011

Back in 2008 we were first presented the first-ever Honest Jon’s Chop Up!, a gathering of music from global artists who all had recorded for the influential West London label Honest Jon’s, which specializes from postwar black music in Britain to African highlife, from 70s English folk to modern Southern Soul. 

And now it’s back! With another helping of extraordinary artists including a new project featuring Damon Albarn, Afrobeat legend Tony Allen and bassist Flea. Plus Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, Chicago brass sensation Hypnotic Brass and Detroit techno/house alchemist Theo Parrish.

Damon Albarn will be one of the headline acts set to perform at this year's Guinness Cork Jazz Festival on October 21st 2011.

Albarn will lead a collaborative show with 25 other artists under the collective name of 'An Honest Jon's Chop Up' – named after the Britpop icon's music label.

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, and afro beat drummer Tony Allen will also play as part of the group, in what will be the third such performance of the collective. The show will kick off the Jazz weekend, which takes place over the October Bank Holiday Weekend.

For more details of the gig and a full programme of events during the Jazz Festival visit

To book your ticket now, click HERE.

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August 1, 2011

Damon Albarn's new album - DRC Music - Aug 2011

A collective of producers lead by Damon Albarn will visit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to produce a new album for Oxfam. 

Travelling with Damon to Congo are T-E-E-D (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs), Dan The Automator, Jneiro Jarel, Richard Russell, Actress, Marc Antoine, Jo Gunton and Kwes. They hope to make an album in 7 days.

Wracked by years of conflict, the DRC is home to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, and proceeds from the album will go to helping Oxfam's work, helping thousands of the DRC's poorest people. 

Albarn previously visited Mali with Oxfam in 2001 which produced the album Mali Music. He has since recorded in Nigeria with Tony Allen and has visited Congo, Mali and Nigeria with Africa Exprez.

Listen to a section of a new track HERE

Visit their website here